week #2 preview : first flowering

Week 2 Preview :25th March

Week 2 runs from tomorrow, 26th March, until next Wednesday, April Fools’ Day. We’ve had sunny days and frosty nights lately (frosts even in Taunton), and the forecast for the next few days is dry and sunny too – which makes it deeply frustrating that there is now an increasingly urgent demand from Government that we stay at home and only venture forth for essential journeys, and for purposes of daily exercise. Any continuation of this little project will obviously have to work within these understandable and necessary constraints.

If you live in the countryside, of course, you may be able to get out a little more easily (and have more botanically productive habitats close to hand) than those of us in the towns; but all of us, wherever we live, will be finding getting out to botanise less and less easy over the coming days and weeks. 

It’s amazing, though, how much one can see in one’s local street, hedgebank, park or road verge, and even, of course, in one’s own garden – as shown by Linda’s Common Dog-violet, Caroline’s Field Wood-rush,and Helena’s Lords-and-Ladies.This week, during my regular garden patrols (which now include, much to the amusement of the neighbours, a few press-ups and ‘standing runs’), I have seen bee-flies, flower bees, small tortoiseshells, comma, holly blue and brimstone. And whenever we sit on the garden bench, a friendly peacock (the butterfly, I hasten to add) comes and perches on the wall beside us.

On the botanical front, too, things are gathering pace in the garden – Lesser Celandines, Ficaria verna, are at full throttle, dandelions – yes, dandelions! – are starting to look their best too, and there are Primroses, Primula vulgaris, and Early Dog-violets, Viola reichenbachiana, everywhere. 

So, despite the constraints, I thought it would still be worthwhile sending out a ‘Week 2 list’ of 17 potential targets, seven of which are carried over from last week, namely:

Greater Chickweed, Stellaria neglecta; Shining Crane’s-bill, Geranium lucidum; Sycamore, Acer pseudoplatanus; Hedge Mustard, Sisymbrium officinale;  Horse-chestnut, Aesculus hippocastanum;  Crack-willow, Salix fragilis; Charlock, Sinapis arvensis 

But to these we can now add the following ten spp:

Dove’s-foot Crane’s-bill, Geranium molle; Woodruff, Galium odoratum; Glaucous Sedge, Carex flacca; Bugle, Ajuga reptans; Pendulous Sedge, Carex pendula; Meadow Buttercup, Ranunculus acris; Beaked Hawk’s-beard, Crepis vesicaria; Red Clover, Trifolium pratense; Common Vetch, Vicia sativa; Hedgerow Crane’s-bill, Geranium pyrenaicum. 

And one more to look forward to, probably not until the 1st or 2nd week of April, but – who knows? – it could just make an appearance in March: Early-purple Orchid, Orchis mascula.

As last week, a few obvious candidates for the coming days are missing from the list, due to the fact that they’re already flowering, at least in the Taunton area: e.g. Ribwort Plantain, Plantago lanceolata, Wild Cherry, Prunus avium, Bluebell, Hyacinthoides non-scripta, Southern Wood-rush, Luzula forsteri, Hawthorn, Crataegus monogyna, Ash, Fraxinus excelsior, Marsh-marigold, Caltha palustris and Silver Birch, Betula pendula.

I’d love to hear from anyone seeing any of these (or any other) species coming into flower in the next week, preferably by email simonleach@phonecoop.coop

Many thanks, take care everyone, and best wishes.